New York has confirmed a case of the South African coronavirus variant in a patient who was transferred to a city hospital from Connecticut.
In a press conference held Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that at this time, there is no evidence of further spread pertaining to the case. He made the announcement moments before revealing that the city would begin a phased re-opening of overnight subway service starting next Monday.
The variants have been causing some concern among experts, particularly pertaining to vaccine efficacy. Several studies have found that the South Africa variant impacts vaccines’ ability to produce antibodies, although not enough to consider the jab useless.
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As a result, several vaccine manufacturers are exploring potential booster shots or preparing to make tweaks to their products to better protect against variants.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been over 1,170 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, first discovered in the U.K., across 40 states in the U.S., and 17 cases of the B.1.351, first detected in South Africa, in at least eight states. Another variant, P.1., which was first detected in Brazil, has been reported in two states.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, has previously said the spread of variants should serve as a “wakeup call” and a reminder to those involved in vaccine development to be nimble and ready to address new needs should they arise.